March 12, 2013

AWP and home again

How fondly I imagined I'd blog from Boston!  Instead I fell into bed exhausted every night and woke up later and later every single day, missing (let's face it) the majority of the AWP panels I most wanted to see.  I guess in any jam-packed schedule of events, something has to be scheduled at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., but why did it always have to be all the useful-sounding panels like "The Five Things Writers Need to Figure Out Before Starting Their Novels" or "The Art of the Ending"..?  I swear, it's as though whiskey-drinking poets made the whole schedule to suit themselves and their own lie-abed ways.  

But I made it to plenty of events, even if I did have to sit on the floor for at least half of them.  Fiction seemed somewhat underrepresented at this conference --- although I guess since fiction dominates poetry pretty much all the rest of the time in every other way imaginable, it's hard to get too miffed about this --- and most of the craft-based fiction panels were slotted into small rooms and were packed.  Then again, there were 11,000 people at this conference, counting everyone staffing the Bookfair.

Even if only, say, 10,000 of those were writers, that's a lot of writers in one place.  It was kind of surreal.  Maybe just being around so many people was what was making me so tired.  I'm still tired.  Losing that extra hour of sleep didn't help either.

I did run into old friends and new, including some folks from Yaddo, and some people I was very happy to meet in person after knowing them a little online.  (In one case, my yellow boots led to a hello!)  But there were just as many people I was hoping to meet or run into, whose paths simply never crossed with mine. I really hadn't grasped the scale of AWP before going.

And I'm not sure how much I really got out of the panels I attended, although there were a few that inspired me to take a few notes and it might take a few days before things start to turn over in my mind.  I'll give it some time.  

In and around the conference, we did have a really nice time seeing my husband's sister and family, who were wonderful hosts, as always, and who maintain one of the most beautifully and inspirationally organized households I've ever visited.  I'm a fairly organized person, but this is rarely outwardly evident by visiting my apartment or seeing my desk at I always like take some mental notes on these things.  I also came away from the amazing Brookline Booksmith with a ton of books I've been wanting to read, pretty much all of which happened to be on sale.  Between my sister-in-law's discount card and the Fleet Foxes playing while I shopped, it was kind of an ideal shopping experience.  I think I've bought more books in the past three months than I've bought in the last three years put together.  Reading is bringing me a lot of joy these days.  It always has, but maybe there is something about not being embroiled in revising one's own novel that makes everything more delicious.


Teri said...

Ooh, I would love to attend AWP next year, despite how overwhelming it sounds... all those PEOPLE. OOF.

(P.S. Unrelated but I'm excited because I realized I might be in Montreal for your book launch! Definitely going to try to go!)

Lesley said...

Wow, AWP sounds amazing! And overwhelming, like those amazing events normally are! Um, also, did you go to Yaddo? I am so intrigued about that place!

saleema said...

Teri, it's definitely worth experiencing! And I wonder if you would know a ton of people from the 'zine world??

(re: the launch, that's awesome! also awesome, there is now a TO one...sent you an invite in case you're around!)

Lesley: I think I just forgot the inherent overwhelmingness of such events. And yes, I went to Yaddo! I saw when I went to create a tag that somehow I didn't already have one which means maybe I never blogged about it, but I plan to. But the short version: it's amazing and you should try to go if you can!

Teri said...

I will be at the Toronto launch next week! It's probably more realistic for me to go to that one than the one in Montreal anyway since I'm not sure what time I'll be in the city on the 28th. Looking forward to seeing you and your book next week!

saleema said...

Teri: yay!! Looking forward, too!